Wrappers A-Z: Criollo

Wrappers A-Z: Criollo
Date: March 2022
Author: Zen Cigar

Cruzado Domenicas Extra

Pronounced cree-oy-yo, Criollo means “native seed,” and may also be described as “Havana-seed.” Ask a Cuban what the word means and to them this means a Cuban leaf grown on Cuban soil. “Criollo” seeds have made their way to a number of other countries however (originally by smuggling in many cases), and are now grown in other locations where they take on unique flavor profiles depending on the soil where they’re grown.

If a cigar is referred to as a Nicaraguan Criollo or Dominican Criollo it may not actually have anything to do with the Criollo plant, it might be just native to the country. The strain most of us are familiar with was developed in the 40’s and most prominently grown in Honduras and Nicaragua. There are two main regions in Nicaragua where Criollo is grown, Esteli and Jalapa, each which has very different soil. The Jalapa Criollo plant has a very distinctive sweetness for which it is quite well known. The region even more than the seed itself can determine the differences in the flavors which are present in the tobacco leaves and the finished cigars.

Original Corojo, in fact, was derived from Criollo seed by natural selection, and this ancient seed is the genetic base seed for the Criollo ‘98 hybrid. The Criollo ’98 was used in the now defunct Criollo’98 cigar by Alec Bradley. It briefly made a comeback with the popularity of the Camacho Havana and the CAO Criollo but that has again faded for more flavorful wrappers.


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